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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
No more wobbly vibrations, steering wheel straight first time ever, tire noise disappeared, on the interstate it will run up to 70mph without thinking because my foot is used to a bad alignment. I will never let some alignment shop rookie or pro touch my Xterra.

First step was the camber adjustment, it was out by a mile, which ate up the inside tire edge, zero degrees is optimal. I used a 6 foot level and a 3 foot by 2 foot framing square, clamped in place and squared up to the rotor. I used jack stands on the rotor assembly where the lug nuts are situated. Using spacers below the 6 foot level and the jack holding the rotor, I was able to dial in 0 degrees camber. I will follow up with some pics on this because I want to recheck it again since the toe adjustment is set and before I install new tires, 31x10.5r15s.

Second step was toe in, Goodyear had it at almost 3/4" toe in, 1/8 to 3/16 is optimal. I set up some pink string and boards. 6 foot spaced nails in both and the proceeded to center them. I took my time squaring these lines before adjusting the tie rods, 2 hours exactly. But it paid off in spades.

Here are the toe pics, I'll do the camber setup again and take pics. The plastic bags under the tires are to allow free play while adjusting.
 

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Awesome work. I've had good luck doing my own alignments too. When you say you put it on jackstands ... Do you mean you had tires off and jackstands under the rotors? IE you were able to use the level directly on the rotor with the rim removed? Nice idea.

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Discussion Starter #3
Awesome work. I've had good luck doing my own alignments too. When you say you put it on jackstands ... Do you mean you had tires off and jackstands under the rotors? IE you were able to use the level directly on the rotor with the rim removed? Nice idea.

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The jacks where under the outer hub edge lip just outside the rotor. One did slip but it butted up against the rotor. This is dangerous, no doubt. But, I sure as hell was able to set it to zero degrees.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Awesome work. I've had good luck doing my own alignments too. When you say you put it on jackstands ... Do you mean you had tires off and jackstands under the rotors? IE you were able to use the level directly on the rotor with the rim removed? Nice idea.
To set zero is quite easy. The only 6' plus dead straight bar I had was a 6'8" level I have. I used 2 c clamps to attach the framing square on one end with the square on the front side, this setup had to be undone and reversed when switching sides.

With the rotor lug bolt assembly edge on the jack stand and the jack stand ratchet lever facing the rear of the vehicle, you now have a flat jack edge facing forward to use a socket like I used to serve as a spacer. In all, 4 clamps and 4 spacers. I used 2 sockets 2 1/2" and 2 spray cans underneath with similar spacers. Triple checked everything and then I sorted out the camber adjustments bolts while using a bright light to see deflection between the rotor and the square. Triple checking everything.

Sounds like a lot of work, and it is, but paying for a half ass alignment and waiting is a bigger waste of time.

After I put a few miles on my X this week, I plan on rotating the tires but dialing it in once again and I take some pics so you get the big picture.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Does this method apply to a 3 inch suspension lift as well?
Yes, I have one, which seems to be the reason Goodyear screwed it up even giving them the recommended camber and toe. Caster adjustment will fall in line after repeating the camber and toe adjustment twice. I am going to install my 3 inch body lift next week and order 33s, I've had the performance body lift kit for 5 years sitting on a shelf. That is how confident I am. Goodyear alignment ate up my BFGs, never will I let anyone do a 4x4 alignment again. Now, on my SL, with 4 wheel independent suspension and crazy turn in caster, no way would I touch that with a 10 foot pole.
 

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I was thinking if it's possible to do this on a 3-inch suspension. Thanks for clarifying this to me. Although I think I need a piece of advice because I didn't do this before, so thanks for sharing your experience. I have a lot of work to do because I also have some Advantage Garage Doors coming next month so I need to fix this issue with the car as soon as possible. I might get it to a shop though because I think they will do it better and faster. You did an awesome job, by the way.
 

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man thats cool and all, but this is why i pay places for alignments because getting everyting setup to do it yourself takes so long by then its pointless, but i also have a firestone near that is actually competent and a locally owned shop i use as well.
 

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I used the level and sting method on my Frontier years ago when I rebuilt the suspension and steering. The main reason was to get it set up reasonably well so I could get it to the alignment shop. They used the fancy laser system etc, and it turned out that they didn't have to do any adjustments as according to the mechanic everything was dead on. It is possible to do a very good alignment in the home shop, but at $45 it was worth it to have my work double checked since I'd just replaced all the moving components and knowing that I wouldn't have undo wear and tear on the parts or my tires was more than worth the extra few dollars after the work and cost of installing them.
 

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I used the level and sting method on my Frontier years ago when I rebuilt the suspension and steering. The main reason was to get it set up reasonably well so I could get it to the alignment shop. They used the fancy laser system etc, and it turned out that they didn't have to do any adjustments as according to the mechanic everything was dead on. It is possible to do a very good alignment in the home shop, but at $45 it was worth it to have my work double checked since I'd just replaced all the moving components and knowing that I wouldn't have undo wear and tear on the parts or my tires was more than worth the extra few dollars after the work and cost of installing them.
hell firestone offers lifetime alignments for like $120 one time charge paid for itself after 2
 
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